Date: 22nd January, 1995
Venue: USF Sun Dome
City: Tampa, FL
Commentators: Vince McMahon &
Jerry “The King” Lawler
The storyline behind the WWF Championship match began in 1994, when Bret Hart was feuding with his brother Owen. After Owen was unable to win the title, he helped Bob Backlund win the belt from Bret at Survivor Series 1994. Three days after Survivor Series, Diesel faced Backlund and won the title belt. He agreed to grant a title shot to Bret Hart, who, like Diesel, was also a fan-favorite.
Also at Survivor Series 1994, Shawn Michaels and Diesel had an argument after Michaels accidentally kicked Diesel in the face. Although the pair held the WWF Tag Team Championship together, Diesel said that he did not want to team with Michaels any longer. The title was vacated, and the WWF held a tournament to determine the new champions. During the tournament, The Smoking Gunns were forced to withdraw when Bart Gunn was injured in a rodeo accident. As a result, the 1–2–3 Kid and Bob Holly took their place. The Gunns requested that they get a title shot after the tournament when Bart had recovered. The 1–2–3 Kid and Holly advanced to the finals, as did Ted DiBiase’s team of Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka. The match to determine the new champions was scheduled to take place at the Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker had been feuding with DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation since his return to the WWF from an injury in August 1994. During the match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna at Survivor Series 1994, Irwin R. Schyster, one of DiBiase’s wrestlers, interfered in the match by attacking The Undertaker. The feud between The Undertaker and Schyster escalated when Schyster performed a series of vignettes in which he repossessed such items as tombstones and burial plots from people he claimed had not paid their taxes before dying. During the feud, Schyster was escorted to the ring for his matches by a group of hooded druids.
The feud between Jeff Jarrett and Razor Ramon began in late 1994 when Jarrett challenged Ramon for Ramon’s WWF Intercontinental Championship. They faced each other several times, but Jarrett was unable to win the belt. Jarrett, who portrayed an aspiring country music star, was accompanied to the ring by The Roadie, who often interfered in matches on Jarrett’s behalf.
Although no major feuds were featured in the Royal Rumble match, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson was in attendance at ringside. It was announced that she would accompany the winner of the match during his WWF Championship title shot at WrestleMania XI.
Buck Quartermaine defeated Brooklyn Brawler
Jeff Jarrett (with The Roadie) defeated Razor Ramon (c) (18:03)
The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Irwin R. Schyster (with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) (12:20)
Diesel (c) fought Bret “Hitman” Hart to a draw (27:18)
Vacant WWF Tag Team Championship:
Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly & 1-2-3 Kid defeated Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow (with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) (15:45)
Royal Rumble Match:
Shawn Michaels won by last eliminating British Bulldog (38:41)
The day after Royal Rumble, the 1–2–3 Kid and Bob Holly faced The Smoking Gunns. The Gunns won the match and the WWF Tag Team Championship. By losing the belts after one day, the Kid and Holly tied what was at that time the record for the shortest tag team title reign in WWF history.
Razor Ramon faced Jeff Jarrett at WrestleMania XI in a rematch for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. To counteract The Roadie’s interference, Ramon was accompanied by his friend the 1–2–3 Kid. Ramon won the match by disqualification but did not win the title. On May 19, 1995, Ramon defeated Jarrett in a ladder match to regain the championship, but Jarrett won the belt back three days later.
The Undertaker faced King Kong Bundy at WrestleMania XI. Although The Undertaker won the match, Kama, another member of DiBiase’s Corporation, took possession of the urn and melted it down into a necklace. The Undertaker defeated Kama in dark matches at In Your House 1 and In Your House 2. They faced each other in a casket match at SummerSlam 1995, which The Undertaker won to end the feud.
Bret Hart wrestled an “I Quit” match against Bob Backlund at WrestleMania. Hart won the match after the referee determined that Backlund had conceded defeat. Bret’s feud with Owen was not featured again, but the two did not reunite until they formed The Hart Foundation in 1997 with brothers-in law Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart.
Despite Michaels winning the right to be escorted by Pamela Anderson to his WWF Championship match against Diesel at WrestleMania, Anderson came to the ring with Diesel instead. Michaels’s bodyguard, Sycho Sid, attempted to interfere on Michaels’s behalf but ultimately helped Diesel retain the title. Diesel offered Michaels a rematch, and Michaels told Sid that he would not be needed in the upcoming match. Upset with Michaels, Sid attacked Michaels until Diesel came to Michaels’s rescue. Diesel and Michaels became allies once again and teamed up to win the WWF Tag Team Championship later that year.
Bam Bam Bigelow challenged Lawrence Taylor to a match, which Taylor accepted after initially refusing. Diesel trained Taylor, who beat Bigelow at WrestleMania XI. Embarrassed, Bigelow challenged Diesel to a match for the WWF Championship. Tatanka was at ringside for the match; he turned on Bigelow and caused him to lose. Bigelow attacked Tatanka after the match, which led to Sid, a new addition to the Corporation, to come to Tatanka’s defense. This led to a tag team match at King of the Ring 1995, where Diesel and Bigelow defeated Tatanka and Sid.
Royal Rumble Stats*
|2||The British Bulldog||29||Michaels||38:41|
|5||Jimmy Del Ray||1||British Bulldog||01:25|
|8||Doink the Clown||7||Kwang||04:50|
|11||Owen Hart||2||British Bulldog||00:03|
|12||Timothy Well||4||British Bulldog||00:23|
|15||King Kong Bundy||14||Mabel||03:00|
|19||Lex Luger||27||Michaels and Crush||18:51|
|23||Billy Gunn||20||Crush and Murdoch||07:25|
|24||Bart Gunn||19||Crush and Murdoch||06:19|
* In this year’s Royal Rumble match, the participants entered every one minute approx.